The Best Donuts in Asheville, North Carolina
Wining & Dining

The 7 Best Donut Shops in Asheville

Are you looking for the perfect ring donut or a generously filled donut? Do you prefer yeast donuts or cake donuts? Are you searching for vegan donuts in Asheville or following a gluten-free diet? It doesn’t matter what your preferences are, or if you spell it “donut” or “doughnut,” these donut shops in Asheville have your cravings covered! 

Some of Asheville’s food scene highlights are the commitment to the farm-to-table movement and the creativity of its chefs. Of course, donuts are not an exception. Our small city has some donut love for everyone, from classic donut shops and weird flavor offerings to customize-your-own donuts and nationally-awarded donuts.

One of the main questions is: Do you prefer yeast or cake donuts? All donuts have the same ingredients and are generally fried. The difference between cake donuts and yeast donuts is the leavening agent. Cake donuts are leavened with baking soda and baking powder, and yeast donuts are leavened with fresh or dried yeast.

The difference is in the final product’s texture: cake doughnuts tend to be denser (cakier) and have more moisture, while yeast donuts are spongy, chewy, and fluffy. The good news? The best donut shops in Asheville offer both types!

Finally, did you know that donuts are such a favorite treat among Americans that there are two days to celebrate them? The first Friday of June is National Donut Day. This tradition started in 1938 to recognize the “Doughnut Lassies,” the women who would give free donuts to American soldiers in World War I. Then, November 5 is National Donut Appreciation Day.

I’ve been living in the US for almost 20 years (I’m originally from Argentina), and I discovered donuts only a couple of years ago. Since then, I’ve been celebrating donuts every week! What are your favorite donut shops in Asheville? Please let us know in the comments!

Don’t forget to check out our web story: The 7 Best Donut Shops in Asheville

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The 7 Best Donut Shops in Asheville

1. Get ‘Tasty, Local, and Twisted’ at Vortex Doughnuts 

Top Donuts Shops in Asheville: Vortex Doughnuts
Image courtesy of Vortex Doughnuts

Vortex Doughnuts has been serving delicious handmade, gourmet donuts since 2014. Everyone agrees that they sling out some of the best donuts in Asheville, and it’s been voted one of the best three donut shops in the Best of Western North Carolina 2022 Awards, alongside Hole Doughnuts and Duck Donuts, featured below (Mountain Xpress). 

Are you looking for vegan donuts in Asheville? Ninety percent of Vortex’s donuts are vegan (they mark their non-vegan options as NV). “Tasty, local, and twisted,” the shop offers the same flavors in a yeast or cake donut. 

Every donut is made with locally sourced ingredients. Their flavors are the most unique! Imagine a sweet potato curry, green curry coconut, and lime donut, or donuts made with local beer and pretzels. Of all the donut shops in town, we chose Vortex for our list of favorite Asheville desserts. They post their daily offerings on their Instagram account. 

Vortex also offers a classic menu of espresso drinks and a signature drink menu brewed with 1000 faces coffee from Athens, Georgia.

2. Get Customized Donuts at Duck Donuts

Most Recommended Donuts Shops in Asheville: Duck Donuts
Image courtesy of Duck Donuts

Duck Donuts is a chain that opened its original store in the town of Duck in the Outer Banks, North Carolina, in 2007. It has now expanded to other cities and states. The Asheville shop is small and has only a few tables, but it offers a lot! You can also order online to pick up later. All donuts are made to order and decorated before your eyes. 

Duck Donuts offers customized donuts and a menu of assorted donuts (with fan favorites and seasonal flavors), a wide selection of drinks (including milkshakes!), and donut sundaes. In addition, their customized breakfast sandwiches (a sliced donut plus your choices of protein) are a great option for a quick breakfast.

Must Visit Donut Shops in Asheville: Duck Donuts

Your order starts with a made-to-order vanilla cake donut. Then you can customize it by adding your choice of coating (there are plenty of options), a topping (sprinkles, Graham Cracker crumbs, chopped peanuts, chopped bacon, shredded coconut, and Oreo cookie pieces), and a drizzle (hot fudge, marshmallow, salted caramel, and raspberry). Each donut is made and decorated in front of you!

3. Sample Made-From-Scratch Donuts at Hole Doughnuts

Best Spots for Donuts in Asheville: Hole Doughnuts
Image courtesy of Hole Doughnuts

This nationally acclaimed, super Instagrammable shop was named “Best Dessert 2016” by Bon Appétit magazine and has one of the best Asheville donuts. The donuts at Hole Doughnuts are made to order using a single-yeasted dough recipe in an open kitchen, where they’re rolled and cut by hand. Each donut is genuinely unique!

The list of ingredients is simple: organic stone ground flour from Lindley Mills, unrefined organic cane sugar, sea salt, cage-free eggs, and whole butter. The donuts are fried in non-GMO rice bran oil. 

The few flavors are also simple: Vanilla Glazed, Toasted Almond Sesame Cinnamon, Cinnamon Sugar, plus a surprising Weekly Seasonal Flavor. Some examples: Pumpkin Sorghum (pureed pumpkin, sorghum, ginger, and a wee bit of cinnamon), Cherry Amaretto, Mezcal/Lime/Basil, or Orange Dream (Grand Marnier, fresh orange juice, coriander, and a little bit of ginger).

Hole Doughnuts has a solid menu of beverages, serving coffee from the local roaster PennyCup Coffee, farm-to-home milk, organic/ultra-low-pasteurized orange juice, and tea from Asheville Tea Company. 

There is a communal table where you can see how the donuts are made. There is no better smell! You can also order online.

4. Stay Weird at Stay Glazed Donuts

Most Recommended Donuts Shops in Asheville: Stay Glazed Donuts
Image courtesy of Stay Glazed Donuts

“Get Glazed…Stay Glazed…Be Dope…” Stay Glazed Donuts offers small-batch, hand-cut donuts made daily, and it’s one of the most beloved Asheville donut shops. They specialize in “weird flavors.”

Located in the basement of the Jackson Building right in Pack Square, in the heart of downtown Asheville, they offer two types of donuts: 24-hour raised Brioche Yeast (amazing texture!) and the only gluten-free mochi dough in Asheville. The ambiance is funky, fun, and homey. 

They are famous for their creative flavors that “Keep Asheville Weird,” as our slogan asks. Some examples are the Spiced Orange Brownie, Cherry Horchata, Blueberry Chai, Blueberry/Bacon/Pancake, PB Peach Cobbler, the Raspberry Sriracha, the Strawberry Simpson’s Donut, and the Trailer Park Elvis (peanut butter banana glaze with bacon, banana MoonePie, and chocolate). 

They have a wide selection of beverages and offer some breakfast items until 11:00 am, a small lunch menu until 1:00 pm, and other treats besides donuts. Sunday is coffee and donuts only. Please know that they are a small shop and often sell out before they close, so the earlier you get there the better chances you’ll get to choose from the entire offering!

5. Indulge in Donuts, NY Bagels, and More at Geraldine’s Bakery

Established in 2013, this beloved old-fashioned, owner-operated Asheville bakery offers everything you can imagine, from daily baked savory treats, NY-style bagels, and bread to cakes, cupcakes, cookies, pastries, pies, and… donuts! Geraldine’s Bakery also supplies local restaurants and grocery stores with its baked goods and does excellent work in the community.

The yeast donuts are made daily from scratch. They offer a good variety of glazed and sprinkled donuts. Some of the favorites are the Sliced Almonds, Coconut,  Bismarcks, Boston Cream, Famous Fritzster, Fried Danish Doughnut, Spud-Nuts (potato donuts made with mashed potatoes instead of flour), and the Hanukkah Sufganiyot (or jelly donuts).

They also offer a comprehensive menu of breakfast and lunch drinks. You’ll love the friendly neighborhood vibe, the prices, the NY-style bagels (the owners are from NY), and the Jewish pastries. You can custom order everything.

6. Try the Best Yeast Chocolate Glazed Donuts in Town Ava’s Donuts

Best Donuts Shops in Asheville: Ava's Donuts
Image courtesy of Ava’s Donuts

Another one of the most popular donut shops in Asheville, Ava’s Donuts offers a solid selection of yeast and cake donuts in classic and seasonal flavors. The handmade donuts are fried every morning and sold while supplies last (they don’t last for very long!).

You won’t find surprises here but good quality donuts at friendly prices. Some favorite flavors are the Apple Cake, Toasted Coconut, Red Velvet, Blueberry, Maple Bacon, the Sour Cream Old-Fashioned cake donut, and the Apple Fritter. 

You get a large donut out of six (choose from Apple Fritters, Pinecone, Cinnamon Roll, Bear Claw, and Cinnamon Sugar Twist). Some of us Ashevillians think this shop sells the best yeast chocolate glazed donuts in town, so give them a try! 

They serve coffee, and there is a Starbucks next door. As with any small donut shop, the earlier you get there, the more variety you’ll have to choose from.

7. Grab Some Vegan Donuts at Dough House

Dough House is an excellent option if you’re searching for vegan donuts in Asheville. It’s the sibling store of The Trashy Vegan, a 100% vegan and peanut-free restaurant in Black Mountain. It offers made-to-order donuts, and they can make any order gluten-free at no extra cost. 

The combination of flavors is incredible and reflects the seasons. All the flavors and toppings on the menu can be added to any donut for 50 cents. Imagine a Boston Cream and spicy Hot Garlic Knot with coconut and bacon on top! 

The menu offers classic and specialty donuts and a wide selection of beverages, including hot chocolate in the winter. Of course, everything is vegan! 

Some favorite flavors are their original Vanilla Glaze and the Apple Cider Glaze. The menu varies weekly, and they post updates on Instagram. Of course, you’ll have to try the Chocolate-Coconut-Bacon and the Strawberry Matcha donut!

They also sell upcycled tops (crop tops, long sleeves, bleached and tie-dyed) with the Dough House’s logo.

Special mentions

Best Donuts Shops in Asheville: Sky Top Orchard
Image courtesy of Sky Top Orchard

In the fall, most apple orchards including Stepps Orchard, Jeter Mountain Farm, and Sky Top Orchard offers delicious “made-while-you-watch” Apple Cider donuts. Pair them with apple cider, and you’ll be in apple heaven!

Bargello‘s donut holes (chocolate espresso cake doughnuts with butterscotch sauce, toasted cacao nibs, and Maldon salt) are excellent! Unfortunately, they are only served on Saturdays and Sundays for brunch.

There you have it! The 7 best donut shops in Asheville, NC. Which places do you think serve the best donuts in Asheville? Let us know so we can give them a try!


Born in Argentina, Laura is a journalist who's lived in Asheville for 10 years. She loves all things Asheville, from the vast business scene to the beautiful nonprofits, magical people, and marvelous nature. She loves being involved in projects that are the change she wants to see in the world.

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